Friday, April 04, 2008

100 Chess Book Reviews: Part 7

Seven down, one to go. Lots of positive reviews in this one...

One major blunder, I say Watson's book on the French is from white's perspective, when it is really from black's perspective. Also, I was starting to run out of space on my video camera so I really started to rush, and many of the reviews become even more impressionistic. Also, for some reason the music is too loud. In my eighth and final video I'll fix the music dealie.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are players who are naturals. Capablanca was one.
Not everyone has to study 100 books to play good chess!
ART OF CHECKMATE AND BEST LESSONS are pretty good books.

4/05/2008 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: My old chess coach studied very few chess books and is an IM. One reason I'm getting rid of most of my books is that not many are needed. But then again, you find the gems by sifting through the dirt. So while not many are needed, you don't know which ones until you look.

My problem was I would buy before looking, just based on reviews at Amazon, suggestions here at the blog from Takchess (:)), or worst of all the blurb from the publisher. Now my policy is: don't buy before seeing, unless you have a really good reason.

4/05/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like every bookstore has the "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess" title. I flipped through it once, but dismissed it. Based on your A grade, maybe I'll give it a deeper perusal next time around.

I'll give it a B. I haven't read it, but it looks good; I read through half of a chapter.

Yes! This review wins!

4/05/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

LEP: it might be too basic for you, but it is so good it can't hurt to review I guess.

Yes, that review needs to be fleshed out. Using my weird grading system, some quite different quality books got lumped together as Bs. E.g., books I really like that I've read, versus books I've considered and read a snippet of just to see if I want to keep it. Both are Bs. It's just not fair. Perhaps I should call the latter a preview, as that is really more accurate.

I really wish I had taken longer on some books. For instance, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess which would have been a very fun review to do. I had a lot to say about a lot of these books but at this point was rushed so truncated everything. At least with that one everyone has looked at it so knows what it's all about.

4/05/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

LMAO. " Sierawan's opening crap... I give it a D" ( tosses).

I've got the entire series of the Informant series OPening encyclopedia ... sitting on a shelf. My problem is that I'm too much of a packrat, I "may" need that book someday.

4/05/2008 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So after all the "I haven't read it" whats your rating up to?

4/05/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Hiddenleaf said...

For those who care, I made another list again. This time a bit better than my previous draft.

BDK if you like this list, could you do me a favour (okay, even if you don't like it... :-) )? Could you write a post such as the one on Grandpatzers blog for the (near to) absolute beginner (that would be me). What would your advice to a beginner be (using your chess library only)?

Grade Author; Title; Serie/subtitle, Publiser, Year/Month, Vid #
A+ Silman, Jeremy, Silman's Complete Endgame Course; From Beginner to Master, Siles Press, 2007/01, 5
A+ Wolff, Patrick, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Alpha, 2005/05,7
A - A+ Cheng, Ray, Practical Chess Exercises, 600 Lessons from Tactics to Strategy, Wheatmark, 2007/05, 4
A Basman, Michael (Mike), Chess Openings, Crowood Chess Library, Crowood Press, 1987/04, 3
A Chandler, Murray, How to Beat Your Dad at Chess, Gambit Publications, 1998/08, 7
A Chess Tactics for Beginners, Convetka, 3*
A - B, Chessmaster 10th edition, Ubisoft, 2*

4/05/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Hiddenleaf said...

B Anderson, Ian, Chess Visualization Course, 3?
B Buckley, Mark, Practical Chess Analysis, Thinkers' Press, 1987/06, 7
B Burgess, Graham, Winning with the Smith-Morra Gambit, Batsford Chess Library, Henry Holt & Co, 1994/12, 4
B Chernev, Irving, Logical Chess Move by Move; Every Move Explained, Batsford, 2003/06 algebraic, 6
B Collins, Sam, Understanding the Chess Openings, Gambit, 2005/07, 4
B Davies, Nigel, Gambiteer I; A Hard Hitting Opening Repetoire for White, Everyman Chess, 2007/05, 6
B Emms, John, Attacking with 1e4, Everyman Chess, 2001/08, 7
B Euwe & Meiden, Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur, 5
B Euwe, Max & Meiden, Walter, Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur, Dover Publications, 1994/03, 6
B Fischer, Bobby, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, Bantam, 1992/07, 7
B Grivas, Efstratios, Chess College 2 Pawn Plays, Chess College, Gambit Publications, 2006/06, 7
B Heisman, Dan, Elements of Positional Evaluation; How Chess Pieces get their Power, Chess Enterprises, 1999/06 rev. ed., 6
B Heisman, Dan, Back to Basics Tactics, ChessCafe Back to Basics Chess, Russell Enterprises, 2007/09, 3
B Kasparov, Garry; on My Great Predecessors part I, Everyman Chess, 2003/08, 7
B Kotov, Alexander, Think Like a Grandmaster, Batsford, 2003/06 algebraic, 6
B Littlewood, Paul, Chess Tactics, Batsford Chess Book, Batsford, 2003/03, 6
B Maza, Michael de la ; Rapid Chess Improvement, Everyman Chess, 2002/06, 6
B McDonald, Neil; Chess the Art of Logical Thinking: From the First Move to the Last, Batsford, 2004/09, 6
B McDonald, Neil; The Art of Planning in Chess; Move by Move, Batsford, 2006/08, 7
B McDonald, Neil; Queens Gambit Declined; Starting Out, Everyman Chess, 2006/12, 2
B Müller & Lamprecht; Fundamental Chess Endings, Gambit Publications, 2001/10, 7
B Müller, Karsten; Fritz Trainer Endgames, 1*
B Pandolfini, Bruce; Beginning Chess: 300 Elementary Problems for Players New to the Game; Fireside Chess Library, Fireside, 1993/08, 3
B Pandolfini, Bruce; Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategies; Fireside Chess Library, Fireside, 1989/11, 6
B Renaud & Kahn; The Art of Checkmate, Dover Publications, 1962/06, 7
B Rosario, Frisco del; A First Book of Morphy, Trafford Publishing, 2004/10, 3
B Sawyer, Tim; Alapin French , Thinkers’ Press, 1995/06, 3
B Snyder, Robert M.; Unbeatable Chess Lessons for juniors; McKay Chess Library for Kids, Random House, 2003/11, 2
B Stean, Michael; Simple Chess; New Algabraic Edition, Dover Publications, 2003/1, 6
B Tisdall, Jonathan; Improve your chess now, Everyman Chess, 1997/12, 7
B Ward, Chris; It's your move Tough Puzzles, Everyman Chess, 2004/01, 6
B Weeramantry & Eusebi; Best Lessons of a Chess Coach; McKay Chess Library, Random House, 1994/02, 7
B Chess Tactics for Intermediate Players, Convetka, 4*
B Fritz 09, 1*
B The Total Marshall, 2*
B Unbeatable Secret Weapons for Black; Roman's Lab volume 17: Sic Def, Scan Def, 4*

* = not a book

4/05/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Hiddenleaf: once I finish this I am definitely going to make a post out of your wonderful summaries. I'm frankly touched and delighted that you made this list.

No doubt the best place to start is with Wolff. Then tactics, play, tactics, play, being sure to go over games, preferably with someone better, not just with Fritz. My tactics improved tremendously. When I started I was a real beginner (I had played maybe two hours of chess in my life and knew how the pieces moved--except en prise and 0-0-0).

Nearly all games below 1400 at ICC are determined by tactical blunders. Once I got above 1400, things got more interesting. I noticed myself losing for new reasons--strategic blunders, endgame idiocy, that kind of thing. It was pretty cool. When I started at ICC I was below 950 in rating.

After my next (last) video, I will add your list as a new post, and a little recommendation for beginners who want to get to around 1400 at ICC faster than I did. I am a patzer so don't listen to anything I say. :)

I think that answers anonymous's question.

BP: Yes, those goliath books were very hard to let go of....

4/05/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

hiddenleaf--I think I gave chessmaster a B...

4/05/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/07/2008 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger glamaFez said...

BDK, have you ever read "Pawn Power In Chess" by Hans Kmoch? I read reviews that said it's good if you can get past the weird terminology that no one else uses. I ordered it and I can't get past the terminology.

4/09/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

It took me a while to get around to watching all of Part 7. I'm surprised by the assessment that J&J's Ruy Lopez book was dismissed as not having enough on White's minor sidelines. I find a lot of the unusual deviations by White are covered here, such as with an early d2-d4 or a2-a4, the Worrall, and Exchange Variations.

I know you already sold it, but can you recall some of the lines where that book disappointed you?

4/09/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

GP no I can't remember now. It's not a good starting out repertoire book (Greet and a couple of other opening books I mentioned are exceptions to this). But now I really see that beginner types like I was shouldn't be buying books like that anyway. Unfortunately for some of the Ruy books I had read Greet and the bar was set really high.

4/10/2008 01:00:00 AM  

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